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The Careful Writer Paperback – December 1, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0684826325 ISBN-10: 0684826321 Edition: 2nd

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The Careful Writer + The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition + On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 2 edition (December 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684826321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684826325
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 26 customer reviews
This may be the only book on grammar you will ever need.
Caleb Murdock
People who are interested in language think most books on grammar and usage are entertaining even if they're really dry as dust.
Judith C. Kinney
There are a number of good and classic reference sources, especially Fowler's "Modern English Usage."
Walking Man

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 65 people found the following review helpful By John F. Hawley on April 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have used The Careful Writer with English classes for years, and was disappointed a while back when I thought it was out of print. Just this morning a student came to me with a question about whether "none" was singular or plural, and Bernstein had a great set of comments and suggestions on its usage. If you're an English teacher, grab this book. If you do any kind of writing, grab this book. If you enjoy amusing accounts while you're looking up some arcane grammar point, grab this book. Need I say more?
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By loce_the_wizard VINE VOICE on February 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
I suppose one might argue that other usage guides are perhaps more thorough and instructive but for quality none outshines The Careful Writer. Theodore M. Bernstein created a gem for the ages when he assembled this collection of some 2,000 entries. I cannot imagine how often I've consulted this text to resolve some slippery usage issue or to refine my own text.
If you need help sorting out the use gender vs. sex, for instance, here you will find that gender is a grammatical term and not at all synonymous with sex. If you are not sure whether the context demands the use of fewer or less, Bernstein will set you straight. Did your supervisor remove all the commas you correctly inserted into a report? Check out the clear, precise explanation here.
Even as the standards of language erode, there are still many who strive to uphold correctness, precision, and nuance over fad and fashion. If you can find a copy of The Careful Writer, you will have a powerful tool to help preserve the legacy of our language.
Any copy editor, writer, broadcast journalist, or English professor who does not yet have a copy of Mr. Bernstein's stellar book is bereft of one of the essential compendiums of usage. It's well worth the effort to track down and purchase this book, for you will consult it with increasing frequency as you become aware of what a rich resource it is.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been a professional editor (books and magazines) for more than 20 years, and Theodore Bernstein's book remains my hands-down favorite reference. The information is comprehensive, the explanations are crystal-clear AND often humorous, and the organization makes the book extremely easy to use. It has never failed me -- I turn to it for both my own questions and my co-workers' questions, and it always provides an answer. It's even fun to read!
This book belongs on every writer's and editor's bookshelf.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Caleb Murdock on February 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read many grammar books over the years, and this is the best of them all. It was originally published in 1965; but since the English language changes very slowly, 99% of the book is still modern and accurate. This may be the only book on grammar you will ever need.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Judith C. Kinney on September 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is, indeed, a wonderful book, just as the other reviewers have said. People who are interested in language think most books on grammar and usage are entertaining even if they're really dry as dust. That's just how we are. This book, however, is much more entertaining that those that are really dry as dust.
The format of this book is easier on the eyes than many heavier tomes on usage. The pages have only a single, full column with bold heads and plenty of white space.
Bernstein has answers that can't be found elsewhere. Here's an example. Suppose you've written a paper you hope will be published in a scholarly journal. You submit the paper to your department head. He or she sends it to a peer reviewer. The reviewer writes that your ideas are "interesting, if not innovative." Based on that comment your department head refuses to submit the paper for publication. But did the reviewer mean your ideas were interesting BUT not innovative, or did he or she mean your ideas were NOT ONLY interesting BUT ALSO innovative. I checked five reference books searching for an answer. Only Bernstein came through. According to Bernstein, only tone of voice could distinguish between the two meanings, and so the construction "[this], if not [that]" should not be used in writing because of its ambiguity.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Judith C. Kinney on September 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is, indeed, a wonderful book, just as the other reviewers have said. People who are interested in language think most books on grammar and usage are entertaining even if they're really dry as dust. That's just how we are. This book, however, is much more entertaining than those that are really dry as dust.
The format of this book is easier on the eyes than many heavier tomes on usage. The pages have only a single, full column with bold heads and plenty of white space.
Bernstein has answers that can't be found elsewhere. Here's an example. Suppose you've written a paper you hope will be published in a scholarly journal. You submit the paper to your department head. He or she sends it to a peer reviewer. The reviewer writes that your ideas are "interesting, if not innovative." Based on that comment your department head refuses to submit the paper for publication. But did the reviewer mean your ideas were interesting BUT not innovative, or did he or she mean your ideas were NOT ONLY interesting BUT ALSO innovative? I checked five reference books searching for an answer. Only Bernstein came through. According to Bernstein, only tone of voice could distinguish between the two meanings, and so the construction "[this], if not [that]" should not be used in writing because of its ambiguity.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
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